Sunday, March 31, 2019

Almost Nothing

That's what I did today, almost nothing.  No, really.  I spent at least an hour looking at the Sunday newspaper.  I attempted to do the Jumble and Sudoku, but not the crossword puzzle because it's just too big.  For some reason that annoys me.  I can't explain it.  Then I folded a basket of clean laundry and put it away.

It wasn't warm outside today, not at all, but it was just barely warm enough (36 degrees) to almost melt the rest of the glacier on the patio.  See?  Yesterday when I was out there I swept all of the rabbit raisins off onto the lawn so I wouldn't track it in on my shoes.  Ick.

I spent a good hour trying to remember how to upload a document to an iPad app called Upad which lets me write on it to make corrections, etc.  I wanted to put the 39 page Writers' Institute schedule on there so I can scroll through marking the speakers I want to hear and the other things I don't want to miss, plus not miss the stuff I paid to be at.  The doc was in Word which wouldn't upload no matter where I put it.  I finally converted it to a pdf and, whoosh, it went right over there.

By then I was so frustrated by it that I closed the iPad and went to start watching The Crown (it's good, I like it) on Netflix while knitting on my sock.  The yarn is skinny and the needles are too so it takes a while to make progress but I love watching the self-patterning yarn make stripes and little dots so I keep knitting.

And that was my day.  I finished the Egg Drop soup for lunch and the BBQ Chicken & Cauliflower Grits for supper so I'll need to plan another Investment Cooking weekend coming up soon.  Hmm, more of that BBQ Chicken stuff and some curried chickpeas, I love those... what else?... how about that chicken and brown rice casserole in the crockpot... yeah, that's good. Time to start a list.

31 March--Tropical Obsession.

Santiago moved with speed and grace from his boat, the Santa Marta, moored as close to shore as was safe. He slid over the gunwale into the water, his feet in their gray canvas shoes barely making a splash. He eased away from the boat sliding his feet along so he wouldn't churn up the water and leave a telltale line of white behind him. He carried an old burlap sack that had begun its life full of coffee beans destined for the lucrative American market and had been reduced to carrying ganja along the Jamaican coast for a while. Now it held a few ballast stones and a clump of what might be Spanish silver pieces of eight welded together by a couple centuries immersion in the sea. He tucked the bag into a corner of the fourth slave hut from the south end of the row. It would look enough like run-of-the-mill trash that the casual observer wouldn't notice it and it should be safe until Manning retrieved it to prove to Mr. Moneybags, Jack Swallow, that he, Santiago, really had found something valuable. The sun was just tinting the eastern horizon with the thinnest pale gold line as Santiago re-boarded the Santa Marta and resumed his journey to the Town Pier with his official cargo of pineapples and potted palm plants for the weekly market.

Tomorrow's the St. Agnes Class of '65 lunch (oh boy, cheeseburgers) and then I have a 3:30 date with my trainer.  That's why I slacked off today.  I know she'll work me hard and sweaty tomorrow so I gave my legs a rest today.  I'm nice like that.  Happy April Fool's Day!

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Signs of Spring


I gots 'em!  When I went out for the newspaper this morning I saw this cluster of yellow crocuses all set to bloom with a single lone white-with-pale-purple-stripes one nearby.


A less welcome sign of spring was the flurry of snowflakes that darkened the skies for a few minutes.  Bah.


This afternoon I spied a Goldfinch at the feeder.  Look how much brighter it is, lots more spring/summer yellow than fall/winter avocado.  Hooray!

I was also reminded why I stop putting suet pellets in the platform feeder in the spring, summer, and fall--at least one chipmunk has learned to climb the crook and hop across to stuff its cheek pouches with them.  The little creep.

This morning I got the wooden clamp shelf that Grandpa Stephan made ages ago hung up and am happy to report that all four of my non-cow creamers fits on it nicely.

I also rearranged the travel sign, framed photos of Durwood and me diving, and a fortune I had framed probably 35 years ago that says, "You will travel to many places" so that they make a nicer grouping.  The other "house" thing I did was go out and finally manage to yank the rest of the soaker hose out of the ground behind the retaining wall, wrench the hoses off the faucet splitter, and coil them up neatly on a fence stake.  I did not, however, take a photo of the dirty and kinked hoses.

Instead of going to the Y today I set off to walk around the block after I got the feeders filled and the hoses tidied up.  I'm sad to say that my leg muscles still complain when I walk.  I was sure that by now they'd be used to me using them to do more than sit on the couch but I guess not.  After walking I hopped (more like hobbled) into the car and went erranding for some birdseed, bananas, mini cukes, and Roma tomatoes.  For supper I whipped up more WW Green Goddess dressing and made myself a big salad topped with grilled chicken breast and croutons.  Deeeelish.

And last night at Friday Night Knitting I hit the six-inch mark on the Zauber sock foot so I knitted in some waste yarn (white) and tonight after supper I picked up the other sock yarn I had picked out and managed a few rounds of the second sock foot.  One of these days I'll get all the way to the second cuff and then I'll find out if my ad-libbing on the Afterthought Everything Sock pattern worked.  I'm certain that there's at least one guild member who can help me.  KK is a real sock maven; she's leading the April Sock Knit-a-long, and knits a zillion socks, she even designs them, so I know I can fling myself on her mercy if (when) I get myself into a pickle.

30 March--Tropical Obsession. 

Manning cursed as he looked at his hurting foot. A thorn from one of the cacti nestled in the rock had pierced the side of his shoe and worked its way into the soft flesh of his arch. He carefully scrutinized the next boulder he came to before sitting down. It took a moment for him to work up the nerve to begin gingerly working the devilishly sharp clump of thorn out. His breath hissed between his teeth and his blood flowed fresh and red to splash on the rocks where it immediately was absorbed. Manning tore a strip from his khaki shirt to stanch the blood and act as a temporary bandage. Blistering the hot, still air with curses, he retied his shoe and, limping only a little, resumed his climb.

I am fearful that there's something more wrong with my leg muscles than just laziness but I plan to take more frequent jaunts around the block to see if that will help ease them.  I'll also ask M, the trainer, about it when I see her on Monday.  I'm not giving up on being ready to walk more comfortably in Yellowstone in August.  Not.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Back Home Again...

... but not in Indiana, as the song says.  Well, the state song of Indiana anyway.  Sorry, that popped into my head and I hoped that laying it down here would stop the sound track in my head.  No such luck.

We rolled back into GB around 3 o'clock this afternoon.  We had a great time in Cedarburg
with the other BLKG knitters.  Our stay at the Washington House Inn was lovely, the breakfasts were good, and we had the use of the basement meeting room for all-day knitting, snacking, dvd watching, and nighttime gimlet drinking.  (I didn't gimlet but others did.)  On our way down on Wednesday LB and I stopped at Bahr Llama Farm because she hadn't been there before.  I whispered the word "clearance" and we adjourned right to the rear of the store where we availed ourselves of the pink bags that we could cram full of yarn for $30/bag.   The skeins I bought are all acrylic and wool and will be perfect for knitting cowls or hats for Christmas at Sea. I got 3 of the green ones, the red one, and the blue one.  If there'd been another skein of this yarn I could probably have crammed it into the bag but there wasn't.  I was happy with my haul.

I did a little shopping yesterday and this morning in a couple free-trade shops and got some Christmas gifts (look at me getting a jump on the season and, no, you can't see what I bought) and a few things for me.  I was thrilled to see that there's a Penzey's Spices store in Cedarburg and it's just a block from where we stayed so I wandered over yesterday and picked up a few things that I knew I was getting low on.

We had an appointment at the Grafton Yarn Store this morning where we had a short lesson in knitting backwards.  It's not as useless a skill as you might imagine.  It's good for when you're knitting a few stitches and have to keep turning the work over and over.  Besides it's a fun thing to know.  I managed to find a couple skeins of cotton yarn that match one I already have an another cotton skein--all on clearance.  Hooray!


This was the view out the window of the backroom of the yarn shop where we had our lesson.  I don't know what river it is but it sure was pretty and nice to see water flowing instead of frozen.


As we were coming up I-43 I saw the sign for the J. M. Kohler Art Museum in Sheboygan and asked LB if she wanted to see some amazing bathrooms.  She was game so I tooled into town and up to the museum where we ignored the art and checked out the bathrooms.  Don't look at me like that, those are some impressive bathrooms and you're welcome to check out the opposite one as long as you crack the door and holler in to make sure it's unoccupied.  Then we stopped at the yarn shop in town but didn't make any purchases.  *pats selves on back*


LB and I opted for a crab & avocado salad for lunch yesterday in the sub shop next to the Inn.  Her order was #111 and she said, "Oh! I guess it's free."  The kid behind the counter said, "Yes."  She fixed him with a suspicious look and he said, "Read the bottom of your receipt."  She did and sure enough it said if you were #111 your next sub was free so we went over just before we left today, got a BLT on whole grain with mayo, and split it on the drive home.  Score!

I've been waiting for a package and it came today.  I saw an ad for bamboo cutlery to replace plastic picnic cutlery and ordered some.  It took a long time because it ships from China but I'm thrilled with it.  It looks well-made and comes in a nicely sewn canvas roll with a snap.  There's even a brush to clean out the bamboo straw.  I hope to have more picnics this summer and will be happy to have some environmentally responsible things to eat with.  *more back pats*

29 March--Tropical Obsession. 

Nola walked slowly between the craft market booths set up on the town square across the street from the Town Pier. Whenever a cruise ship was docked, the little band of artists and entrepreneurs set up their tables and laid out their wares. Nola wasn't a cruise ship passenger, never had been able to face the prospect of being trapped in what amounted to a floating hotel with a couple thousand strangers for a week, steaming from island to island striking each a glancing blow. Spending just enough time on each one for a hot cab ride to see the highlights and take a quick tour through the upscale shops that line the ports. The whole cruise idea seemed so artificial to her. She had endured dinner conversations with avid cruisers who insisted they were familiar with nearly every Caribbean island. Judging by the majority of the people around her and the things she overheard, the packaged view of an island they was just that--packaged. The real life of the island went on around the Disney-esque sanitized experience that was trotted out before the ship docked and carefully folded away until the next ship was due. Even worse, Nola bet that ninety percent of what was for sale around her was made in Taiwan. Pathetic. And where was Jack? He was supposed to meet her at City Cafe for lunch.

It was so much fun to be away with such fun people, the weather cooperated, and the shopping was good but I'm glad to be home in my own bed, with my own fridge, and potty.  Back to the Y tomorrow.
P.S. They're saying we might get an inch of snow tomorrow morning.  Arrgh.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Outta Town


That's where I am, outta town.  Eleven other knitters and me lit out for a two-night knit away in Cedarburg which is a quaint little town north of Milwaukee.  We're staying at the Washington House Inn which is a B&B on the main drag.  Tonight we had wine and cheese courtesy of the management and there's breakfast in the morning.  Of course there is, the second B in the name stands for breakfast.  Here's my room.  It's small but nicely appointed, the sink is next to the bed but the commode and shower are in a tiny separate room.  That's okay, I'm only one person and only here for two nights.

I got brave when we got here and started in on what I'm calling the Fort Myers Shawl.  The yarn is very skinny and there are a lot of stitches (282) but I got the first two rows knitted and even the first "field" which is what the pattern designer calls the bulging shapes that make the shawl so interesting.  I'm impressed that I managed to make the first one with eleven other knitters chattering and laughing around me.  It's difficult to count to 13 sometimes.  I'll knit across all of the stitches making six of these fields before the gray comes back to frame the red.  (the white is provisional cast-on which will be removed and more pattern knitting tacked on at the end--I think)

When I drove home from the Y the other day I was stopped at a red light behind a car with a bumper sticker that made me laugh so I took its picture.  It says "I'm Pro-Sasquatch and I Vote."  So silly, it made me laugh. Laughing is good.

Today's cuteness comes courtesy of the NEW Zoo.  Four otter pups were born this week.  Don't you wish you could scoop up one and cuddle it?  Awww.

 27 March--Tropical Obsession. 

Like a finger pointing the way, the red obelisk stands sentinel over a deserted stretch of shoreline. No longer is it used by mariners as an aid to navigating in to pick up cargo. Now it stands as an oddity, a curiosity poked and examined by sunburnt tourists who lean against it, or embrace it with a lascivious look on their foolish faces, or pose beside it looking stiff and uncomfortable to have their picture taken. How many albums hold photos of the red obelisk? How many people remember the story of the hardships it represents?

I don't know why the photos I emailed to myself haven't shown up but I'm going to listen to another chapter of my audiobook and if they haven't shown up by then, I'm going to post this with no pictures and call it a night.  See?  I knew if I threatened the internets my emails would arrive and they did.  Ha!